Anthracnose Fruit Rot of Strawberry

StrawberriesFormer Ph.D. student Leonor Leandro(now a faculty member in our Department) documented survival and multiplication of the anthracnose fruit rot pathogen,Colletotrichum acutatum, on symptomless strawberry leaves (2001, Phytopathology91:659-664). This phenomenon altered our understanding of the anthracnose disease cycle and raised the possibility that the pathogen could disseminate and multiply in apparently healthy strawberry fields prior to fruit ripening, setting the stage for epidemics of fruit rot.

A current PhD student, Oscar Pérez-Hernández, is developing a PCR-based assay that could allow growers to detect the pathogen in production fields during the symptomless phase. He is also investigating survival and proliferation of the pathogen on flower parts (petals and calyces)., and evaluating efficacy of various reduced-risk fungicides in field trials.